“Gorgeous landscaping and old-growth PNW forest awaits you at the Bloedel Reserve.
— Hunter R
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife
The preserve is generally closed on Mondays. For up-to-date hours of operation, check out their website
Travel through the Bloedel Reserve to experience a seamless combination of both authentic PNW forested greenery and manicured beauty. Once the home of a prominent timber family in the area, you'll get a sense as you hike around that these people truly had a reverence for the land they used to build their company and fortune.
Need to Know
Restrooms are located at both the Gate House and the Visitor Center. Bring cash for the Gate House gift shop if you'd like to buy a souvenir.
Starting from the parking areas (either north or south of the entrance gate and gift shop), you'll pick up the trail heading south across a vibrant green expanse of rolling meadow punctuated by stunningly large trees.
At the far end of the West Meadow, you'll pass a few storage barns before diving straight into beautiful old forest. Soon the trail wanders through trees dripping with lichen as they escort you to the Bird Refuge: a pleasant, sleepy pond often housing numerous families of waterfowl.
Past the refuge, the trail follows another pleasant meadow before crossing the outflow of the Bird Refuge in a large drainage. While here, on the Trestle Bridge, you'll get a beautiful view both into the canopy above and down into the trickling water draining through the ravine.
Continue past the Trestle Bridge to enter "The Woods". In here, get ready to experience seemingly untouched PNW forest dense with salal and other undergrowth. This portion of the trail makes you feel as though you're in the Olympic National Forest, let alone a preserve on Bainbridge.
Climbing out of the forest, the trail soon pops out onto the paved road leading to the original main house on the property, and what is now the Visitor Center. While in the Visitor Center, be sure to explore the house kitchen, dining room, and living room's lavish furnishings. If you'd like to read more about the history of the preserve, you can also check out the informative displays in the hallway to your right when walking in.
Once out of the Visitor Center, follow the trail north as it descends a staircase toward a waterfall and Christmas Pond. You'll wind through more pleasant forest here until you cross the main road again, this time passing through dense trees alongside another pond. Soon you'll reach one of the most beautiful parts of the preserve: the Japanese Garden.
Situated on a hill above a gorgeous ornamental garden, the Japanese Garden offers viewers a look into a stunning Japanese structure, complete with fireplace, dining area, and expansive wrap-around deck. In front of the house, visitors can enjoy a zen rock garden.
Next along the trail is the Moss Garden. While you might not know what to expect here, it's truly a garden with a unique entirely moss floor. While you'll hike through it in short order, the beauty of the moss garden bleeds over into the next feature of the park: the Reflection Garden. As you pass through here, it feels reminiscent of the National Mall, with a single, large, rectangular pond stretching for quite a length, hugged by large square shrubs on both sides. This part of the trail offers a pleasant bench to sit on and enjoy the view, so don't pass up the opportunity!
After passing the Reflection Garden, the trail meanders through more woodlands, similar to what you saw earlier, before popping back out onto the West Meadow and returning to the parking area.
Flora & Fauna
This is a forest preserve and gardens, so expect the flora to be top-notch. A mix of Japanese and Pacific Northwestern influences provide a pleasant combination that is sure to melt away any stress you bring with you to the preserve.
History & Background
Once the estate of a prominent timber family in the area, the Bloedel Reserve has changed hands a few times over its history. For the full story, be sure to check out the informational displays in the Visitor Center.